WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — The Department of State Health Services is reporting the first flu-related child death of the year in Texas.

It is reported that the 5-year-old who died was not vaccinated and that is why officials here Wichita Falls are stressing it is not too late to get that done.

“Texas is in the top five for influenza-like illness in the United States,” Physician Assistant Lee Ackley said.

In the top ten states with the activity of the actual flu, Texas ranks third.

“We are getting it quicker than other states because there is so much activity in Texas but prevention is the main thing,” Trott’s Call Field Drug Chief Pharmacist Chuck Weaver said.

“I always tell my patients to make sure they get their vaccine within the first week of October but you can get your flu vaccine any time,” Ackley said.

Ackley and other health officials said it is essential kids as young as 6 months and the elderly get vaccinated as they are typically the ones at greater risk of dying from the virus.

Folks who have compromised immune systems should as well.

“The strains that are out there right now that have been cultured in the state of Texas, the two influenza A’s are in the vaccine this year, so if you get the shot this year you are 60% less likely to get the flu,” Ackley said.

With Texas ranking so high for influenza-like illnesses, both Ackley and Weaver are encouraging everyone to treat those symptoms with over-the-counter medications.

Most importantly, though, protect yourself and those around you from the actual flu and get your flu shot.

For a list of symptoms to pay attention to, follow this link.

If you want more info on the Walgreens flu index, follow this link.